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My 2017 Writing Year, So Far: Panels, Presentations & Publication

My 2017 writing year has already been a whirl of fabulous  writing events and appearances. [caption id="attachment_204" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sharon Skinner Book Appearance[/caption] January was a super busy month. Lots of travel and teaching/presenting. As you know, I taught a half-day workshop at the ASU Virginia G Piper...

Picture Book (Part 3): Conference Critiques and the Cinderella Dream

So, back to writing picture books, Conference Critiques (and the Cinderella Dream).

I submitted my PB ms for a critique at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference, knowing full well that the true purpose of submitting for critique critiques is to get professional level feedback on the work. However, like many authors and illustrators, deep in my heart, I hoped for the Cinderella dream. You know, the one where the glass slipper fits so perfectly, the assigned agent/editor makes an immediate offer of representation/publication. Yeah. That’s the one.

 Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)

Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)

Writing Picture Books: Not as Easy as it Looks (PART 1)

Since the beginning of this writing journey, I have wanted to write a picture book. And, like many authors, I have more than one abandoned picture book manuscript to my name. I sometimes imagine them huddling together in a drawer somewhere, trying to keep warm. Out of sight, but not necessarily out of mind. I still love the ideas for those stories deeply, but I just could not figure out how to make them work.

Wooden_file_cabinet

While writing novels is not particularly easy, I found myself better able to figure out the structure of the longer format. I still had to study my craft, and learn to edit with an iron fisted pen, but it has always felt more natural to me than the shorter, “easier” children’s picture book format.

Plotting, Not Plodding!

Plotting Clip Art

Plot points, crisis, and climax, oh my! I have been reading up on plotting, taking a deep dive into process and techniques, attempting to distill the information that others have provided in books like The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen, and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman into something that I can easily absorb and make part of my ingrained writing process and inform my teaching process, as well.

This is not the first time I have delved into plot at this level. A couple of years ago, I published an essay about plot called “Plot Isn’t Just a Four-Letter Word,” You can find it on line here for free.

Setting: Emotional Depth Through Character Perspective

healers_legacy_poster-characters in setting

Kira, Vaith and Kelmir. Characters in setting.

When writing, I start from character, not simply because I think it’s a great place to start—although, for me, it’s mostly character engagement that keeps me reading (or writing) a book or story—but more so because that’s just the way my brain works.

So, when describing the landscape/creating the setting for the book, everything I see is filtered through the eyes of my characters. This is a huge plus in developing voice and for showing the character’s emotional journey, because the world the reader sees is from the perspective of the characters living in and experiencing it.